I’m preparing my yard for winter, so I thought I would remind everyone of some of the basics of bird feeding. These are from my own experience, so if they differ from the experts or something else you have read you can “consider the source”.
My first concern for the winter is actually water. I read once that more birds die from dehydration during the winter months than from starvation. If you think about it for a minute, that makes sense. Water is scarce in most yards during the winter months. Rainfall is light or non-existent. Even though we have a pond nearby, most birds can’t safely get to the water. So the first thing I do is make sure I have plenty of water available in several areas of the yard. I currently have two bird baths and three containers that I keep filled. They don’t have to be elaborate. As you can see in the photo, one of mine is just a plastic tub. I added a brick to it to keep it balanced as the water level lowers.
My next tip is to remember that bird habits vary, so make sure you have flat and hanging feeders. I even try to have several types of each. I have a long tube feeder and a house-shaped feeder that hang from trees and four flat tray feeders mounted on posts. I also sprinkle feed on the ground in a couple of locations and hang a niger-seed sock for finches.
Birds can be territorial and don’t always get along, so make sure your feeders are spaced throughout the yard.
You should also have at least two suet feeders. During the coldest months I usually keep four out. Sometimes I put woodpecker blocks out, but the squirrels also love those! If you don’t want them to share you may have to make sure you hang the treat from a tiny limb that won’t support a squirrel.
I put out different types of food at each feeder. I buy a basic “bird seed” but supplement with black sunflower seeds, raisins, and stale bread spread with peanut butter.
Make sure your seed doesn’t get wet and moldy. I don’t put out a lot at once if there is a chance of rain or snow.
I’ve probably forgotten something, but this will get you started. I love watching the birds and I consider their food an investment in my health and happiness! Also helps me get some good photos.
Have a great day!